Man denies kidnapping, assaulting neighbors’ 3-year-old in Oak Park

SAN DIEGO -- A registered sex offender accused of breaking into his next-door neighbors' home and sexually assaulting their 3-year-old pleaded not guilty Wednesday to five felony charges, including kidnapping with intent to molest.

Francisco Diaz, 46, was ordered held without bail. He faces life in prison if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Claudia Grasso.

The prosecutor alleged that Diaz came to the window of the sleeping child's bedroom Saturday morning, broke a screen and curtain rod and climbed into the room, where he allegedly raped and sodomized the toddler.

When the child woke up and cried, Diaz carried her out through the window and was walking the girl toward his home when her moother saw them and wrapped her child -- who was naked from the waist down -- in a blanket, Grasso alleged.

Police were called around 9:45 a.m. to the 5200 block of Maple Street - - which is directly across from Oak Park Elementary School -- and Diaz was arrested.

"It's a parent's worst nightmare," the prosecutor said outside court. "It's been so hot lately that it's no wonder the windows were open and not locked. The violation, the betrayal, (it's just) horrific. I think that not only does it impact the victim but it impacts the entire family, who now have to look over their shoulder, who now cannot feel safe in their own home. It causes you as a parent to be more cautious, more protective."

Diaz will be back in court Aug. 24 for a readiness conference and Aug. 28 for a preliminary hearing.